Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Sorta kinda bonus day

 So, crew change tomorrow. I was supposed to be in the air right now. Apparently New York finally got snow, and of course, it's on the day I fly in. Or was supposed to fly in. My flight was cancelled then rebooked for tomorrow 6am. So I get a bonus day today at home. Add to that, today is the first hot day here in Florida, and so I get to experience that, and then tomorrow I can go freeze my balls off. 

      So today is a nice bonus day. My wife is working, sadly, which means I won't see much of her today, but tonight we'll have a surprise quiet night at home, God willing. 

     So, my original plan was to fly in to JFK airport, which is quite a hike from the office in Brooklyn, but has a BJ's on the way into the city, which would have been nice. From there I would have dropped off my groceries at the office warehouse (it being cold, no need for a fridge), and headed to the new, nicer hotel we now use for crew change eve.  Tomorrow I would have been up early and gone right to the office and on to the HQ wherever that may be.  Instead, I will fly into Newark, get stuck in traffic in Manhattan and then go to the local bodega to get half-wilted greenstuff and sundries at twice the price of BJ's.   So it goes. 

 Still, the sun's out and it's already 85 degrees here in America. Time enough to be unhappy tomorrow, so I am off to enjoy the day. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Dad moment

 Gotta stand on the fencepost and crow today. 

          The US Coast Guard's merchant marine licensing and documentation work has been mostly farmed out to federal contractors, and specifically to Morpho Trust, from what I understand, who is McDonnell-Douglas IIRC,  who already handles ID programs for the Homeland Security dinguses, and whose early incompetence once earned me a phone call from a Morpho Trust executive who read my blog (poor soul) in which I invited each and every employee to dine upon the most choice cuts of a penis. "Eat a dick" was how I put it in my poetic parlance at the time. Getting a phone call over that, and the fact that they were able to identify me and call my goddamn cell was a pretty powerful message. Morpho Trust don't take no shit. 

 Anyhow, I would appreciate not being stalked this time, but it seems Morpho Trust, or maybe just the Miami Regional Exam Center of the US Post Toasties, once again managed to serve up a year's worth of soup sandwiches.  BUT, my kid was undeterred. Despite losing his application 3 times, asking for things that aren't required, and then just going radio silent... until my kid showed up at the REC with a half a ream's worth of papers and a refusal to leave until his application was filed... which then took 2 months to process, which is pretty good for the .gov. 

 Anyhow, long story short, it was far more of an ordeal than I've ever seen, but my kid received his Merchant Marine Credential yesterday.  Rather than going straight to college, he's going to sea for a time, and see what there is to see before decides whether or not a career at sea is for him. 

      I can't tell you how proud I am. I couldn't tell him how proud I was, as I don't want him to be doing this for me, or for the family legacy, we B men having been sending someone to sea for multiple generations now. But he knows now. And whether or not he stays, or even likes it, he'll always have been able to say that he worked as a merchant mariner, which is a nice feather in the cap. 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Sweet vacation

 I had planned on working a week of overtime. Instead, a scheduling snafu gave me the opportunity to go home. There is nothing quite like the feeling of a surprise vacation- Instead of living out of a seabag for a week and trying to fit in in a strange place, I am sitting in my house, waiting (of course) for my wife to finish getting ready so we can go out for the day. 

Sunday, February 5, 2023

A near-run thing and a minty fresh booty

 Dear Diary, 

   Today I  We dodged a bullet here on the HQ. 

    Yesterday's cargo had sat in our unheated tanks a little too long after a ship dragged their feet and lingered in port for 2 days longer than expected .This coincided with a VERY nasty cold snap that saw our mild winter temps from from the 30's and 40's to 5 damn degrees, along with hard gales that gave a -40 windchill supposedly. 

 Whatever it was, it sucked hard. 

 So I was all bundled up, and miserable; hell we all were. But the oil in the tanks was losing heat much faster than normal- the volume was split between two tanks, and since the volume in each tank was very low, the oil was exposed to cold across a wide area. It took me 20 minutes to catch prime in the cargo pump, because the fuel in the pipelines had gelled into a molasses-like consistency. Churning the semi-solid oil in the pump heated it up through friction, and so after about 10 mintues the pressure built on the 150-foot Tootsie Roll in the pipeline, and I let the pump run up to 100psi before the gelled oil started moving. Even so, once I had gotten the liquid fuel moving, it was only slightly above the pour point (the temp at which it turns solid), so what should have been a 1-hour pumpoff took 6. Once the heavy old was done, I had a large batch of diesel oil to transfer, but since the pour point of that particular diesel is well below -30, that went off well. 

 Naturally we had no running water during all this. The HQ, for all her qualities, does not have working insulation around her potable water system. There is a bunch of cladding and old insulation, but it is so supersaturated with water from over the years, it turns into a block of ice, and acts to chill our water down. And also the heating coil in the tank died a month ago and the parts haven't arrived apparently. 

 So, yeah, no running water for me. We were camping out for about 36 hours. Luckily, this cold snap, intense as it was, was incredibly short lived. 

 The whole thing was intense and short. When we got to the ship where we had that cold oil, it was blowing 40 steady, gusting higher as we got the first lines over. By the time we got the last line on, just 15 minutes later, the wind had dropped to almost nothing and the sun was peeking out. I've never seen the weather change so fast outside of a thundersquall. 20 minutes after I was miserable and suffering, I had my winter hat and coat off and was in a heavy sweatshirt out on deck. 

 We got the water running today. It was really nice to have a hot shower. I smell much better. 


Friday, February 3, 2023

Not as good a day

 It's been a bit downhill since Monday. Work has been characterized by things not going as smoothly as they ought, and there's a cold snap with a northerly wind coming that is sure to mean we lose the water pumps here on board the HQ again. So I get to look forward to being the proud possessor of an unwashed ass for a day or two. 

     BUT, could be worse. Nobody's been ganked off of here this week. That is a relief. We were starting to feel picked upon.